Since the emergency aid for the damage caused by heavy rain and flood in 1995 in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), JVC has organized a network called “Relief Campaign Committee for Children, Japan (RCCJ)” in collaboration with other NGOs to support children in the DPRK. Through this, we realized obstacles caused by the lack of mutual understanding between Japan and the DPRK. We then started a mutual understanding program, Children’s Art Exhibitions, in 2001 with other organizations, in which children can exchange paintings with each other. Since 2012, we have also conducted the “Japan-DPRK University Student Exchange”. This has been implemented between university students in Pyongyang and Japan.
Outline of the Activities
Children’s Art Exhibitions started from a desire to make the 21st century a century of peace. Children living in the Republic of Korea, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the People’s Republic of China, and Japan draw paintings based on the same theme, attach messages, and introduce their life and culture to each other. Children in these countries who normally cannot meet each other have connected their hearts across borders.
In the Exchange Program for University Students from Japan and DPRK, students who learn the Japanese language at Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies and Japanese students from various schools have interacted with each other in Pyongyang since 2012. The Japanese and the DPRK students attend sessions together. First, they get to know about each other, exchange opinions on the same theme, and actively discuss their ideas at the workshop. This exchange program restarted as the Northeast Asian University Peace Exchange Program from the fiscal year 2018. In the new program, exchange and study sessions will be held as a set and aim to foster persons who are interested in and contribute to the peacebuilding in Northeast Asia.
Believing that “Even a piece of hair should be connected,” we have uninterruptedly continued our exchange with the DPRK through the Children’s Art Exhibitions for the last 19 years. Now, teachers in Pyongyang are actively introducing our exhibitions.
In the 7th “Japan-DPRK University Student Exchange,”, the person-in-charge at Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies said, “In the exchange program, we faced various differences in political system, sense of value, and culture, but I think it was a great achievement that we could find common points on seeking peace. East Asia has complicated issues now, but let’s keep this interaction in mind as a memory in a lifetime and keep doing our best to make East Asia a free, peaceful, and prosperous area.” Listening to his words, we feel that trust is accumulating both in Japan and the DPRK.
A student from Pyongyang who participated in the exchange program for university students. “I was really impressed by hearing the voices of the Japanese students who are hoping for peace, thinking about the same thing, and having the same opinion. We are in our twenties, so let’s do our best for a happy future without war. Thank you very much.”
[Source: JVC Annual Report 2019]Share This: